Drunk pensioner ‘can’t remember’ groping teen on bus

Alistair Miller said he had no recollection of the incident.
Alistair Miller said he had no recollection of the incident.

A DRUNK pensioner who groped a teenage girl as she chatted to a friend on a bus has escaped being put on the sex offenders register.

Alistair Miller touched the shocked 17-year-old by grabbing her leg and moving his hand up her thigh as she travelled home from work.

Miller, who claimed he had no recollection of the incident, was seen drinking from a can of lager on the busy single decker just moments before launching his attack on the girl.

The 68-year-old retired pipe layer, from Dunbar, initially denied the girl’s claims and the teenager was forced to give evidence to a part-heard trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last month.

But during the second day of the trial yesterday, Miller changed his plea to guilty to an amended charge of behaving in a threatening or abusive manner by repeatedly touching the girl on the body over her clothing whilst on a bus on December 14 last year.

The father-of-four’s plea to not sexually assaulting the teenager was accepted by the Crown and no more evidence was heard.

Last month the teen, who cannot be named due to legal reasons, told the court she was travelling on the 107 bus from Haddington to Dunbar, in East Lothian, after finishing her shift at a hairdressers.

She said: “I was sitting at the back row [of the bus] and a friend got on and we began speaking to each other.

“The accused was in the same row as me but on the other side. I did not know him and I did not speak to him.

“While we were sitting talking the accused leaned over and touched my leg.

“At first we both laughed it off as we thought it was a joke.

“But then he did it again with his full hand. He placed it on top of my leg and held on to it.

“It was my right thigh and it lasted about five seconds.

“I wasn’t sure what to do - I was intimidated by it.

“I was really confused and was left quite shocked.

“He held my leg in his hand and his hand moved up my thigh.

“Once he reached over I could smell of alcohol on him.”

The girl added she then told her horrified mother about the incident when she got home and the police were called in to investigate.

Yesterday, defending solicitor Paul Smith said: “Mr Miller had been drinking on the bus and he was drunk. He can’t recall much about this incident and he can’t recall behaving in the way he now accepts he behaved.

“It was inappropriate behaviour in a confined public place.”

Mr Smith added his OAP client had been sacked from his part-time position at a local supermarket following his arrest last December.

Sheriff Adrian Cottam told Miller: “The circumstances do appear to me to be slightly concerning.

“The charge is different from that which you were charged with but it is the same behaviour as the witness gave on the last occasion.”

Sheriff Cottam deferred sentence on Miller for reports to next month.

newsen@edinburghnews.com